Contrary to what non-dressage riders think, there is a lot more to it than just riding around in circles and boring the horse into submission. It is hard to describe the levels of unison one reaches with a dressage horse. Years ago, I did ballroom dancing and when you are “dancing” with a horse, you reach a level of communication that goes even beyond what two humans can achieve. I love my dressage, I really do.
But sometimes, you have to break the mold a little bit, let loose and have some fun! So today, I did just that! I was supposed to interview someone for the book I am writing on the human-horse relationship and have been struggling since the end of last year to get hold of her. Today, I finally got to meet her and you won’t believe it, I never got to do my interview! Instead, I relived a little bit of my crazy youth.
Since I can remember, my mother has drilled into us: “Always take something warm, even in the middle of summer, because the weather can suddenly change and you don’t want to be caught unprepared!” Visiting horsey people and places I have been caught unprepared too many times, so now I am in the habit of carrying a bag with riding gear in my car wherever I go. It came in handy today.
While we were supposed to be talking about the relationship between equines and people, she was trying to organise a ride for some horses over some cross-country jumps. I don’t normally invite myself along, but without thinking I heard myself say: “I brought riding gear.”
Let me just state that I have not jumped a cross-country fence since the year 2005 and since I have had kids I have jumped nothing higher than my knee! But I went out there today and jumped bigger than I have ever jumped in my life. A few times I thought to myself: “Shit, I think I might die now.” The great thing was though, that I didn’t spend too much time overthinking anything and decided that if the horse was willing to jump (and she was very willing), all I had to do was stay on top. I managed to do that and live to tell the tale! Afterwards we took all the horses to swim in a dirt dam to cool off. I haven’t done any of this stuff since I was a kid.
These are the sorts of things my friends and I did when I was little. We would spend all day out on our horses, jumping anything we could find and them take them for a swim in a dam. (Any damn we could find, really!)
I was a great day and it felt good to break the mold a little bit! But tomorrow it’s back to my 60×20!